EVERGLADES CITY, Fla. -- A WINK NEWS Exclusive with a man who reported his friend missing in the Everglades. We first told you about Robert Charles' disappearance as breaking news Thursday night at 11.
He was canoeing with Harry Shaw near Everglades City, when Charles got caught in a swell during a storm.Only Rachael Rafanelli spoke to the man who called for help after his friend disappeared.
The rescued boater and his friend were out on the water again today, recovering camping gear left behind after the rescue.
Robert Charles, 71, and his friend Harry Shaw have gone canoeing and camping many times before in the Ten Thousand Islands area, but last night's trip turned into a call for help when their canoes got separated.
"We were paddling from Rabbit Key over to Pavilion when we got caught in a storm and got separated," explained Shaw. "I made it to Pavilion my partner didn't. He got blown away, beaching on a little key. He was safe, but we had no contact with each other. After a couple of hours, I called 9-1-1."
Multiple agencies launched a search, from the air and on the water, at the National Park Service base in Everglades City. WINK News has learned it was the United States Coast Guard chopper from Miami that pulled Charles to safety moments before the crew had to leave to re-fuel.
"I was concerned for him but I knew hes an experienced outdoorsman. He was probably holed up somewhere, but not knowing was cause enough to get some help," said Shaw.
A district ranger says this is a good lesson in safety, and if you go out in the water make sure you carry the necessary equipment. "What a lot of people don't carry is a marine radio and a set of flares. You know, a marine radio last night would have helped because they could of communicated with each other," said District Ranger Tom Iandimarino.
Both men say they are thankful for all the support during the rescue last night, and say, they'll be back out camping again soon.